Higher control with MHR, says Agency


data representation with lock

Australia’s digital health record may be controversial, but it will give people more control than similar systems internationally

A Digital Health Evidence Review, released by the Australian Digital Health Agency, brings together studies comparing My Health Record with similar systems across the world, including those in France, the UK, the USA and New Zealand.

It found that My Health Record consumers in Australia have more ability to personally control their digital health information than in similar countries worldwide.

“We know through the important national conversation that is currently occurring that Australians expect and deserve strong safeguards, choice and control when it comes to their personal information,” says Agency Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Meredith Makeham.

“As the Agency responsible for My Health Record, we need to continue to improve the system in consultation with the Australian community and their healthcare providers.”

With the Australian My Health Record system, people have among the most choice in how their medical information, such as their tests and scans, are stored and accessed from an international perspective.

“Although many countries have laws that allow users to view their health information, only Australia and a handful of other countries have laws that allow citizens to control who sees their information and request corrections to their own health data,” says Makeham.

Out of the 50 countries surveyed, the Digital Health Evidence Review found:

  • Only Australia and France allow individuals to edit or author parts of their record/
  • Only 32% of surveyed countries have legislation in place that allow individuals to request corrections to their data.
  • Only 28% of surveyed countries have legislation that allows individuals to specify which healthcare providers can access their data.

At last week’s Pharmacy Assistant Conference on the Gold Coast, Guild Queensland branch vice president Kos Sclavos said that My Health Record would be a boon for pharmacies, but would involve extra work – and that he hoped pharmacy assistants would be able to add data to it.

“Technically, at the moment, you can’t, but we want to see that change at the Guild,” he said.

“At the moment, if somebody walks into your pharmacy at 7.30 at night, the doctor’s closed and you can’t reach the doctor, it’s critical that the pharmacist can see the health record.”

He said there had been a great deal of “fear-mongering” in media about patients’ level of control of the MHR.

“The Health Record equates to more power for pharmacists.”

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